Looking for a dove lease or to make some extra money? Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Public Dove Hunting Program is not only an opportunity for hunters, but it is also an opportunity for landowners to make some extra money by leasing the hunting rights for dove and other small game to TPWD. This is a short termed lease that usually last for 45 to 60 days in length, the equivalent of the first split of the dove season. Revenue from the sale of hunting licenses and the annual public hunting permit enable TPWD to expand public hunting opportunities through private land lease programs.
“We are looking for properties that are at least 50 or more acres where hunting is legal, with access, food, water and cover to attract dove,” said Kelly Edmiston with TPWD’s public hunting program. “Ideal sites have a good food source such as grain crops; sunflowers, croton (goat weeds), water or that have become recently fallowed.”
Additionally, each tract must have a public access point where hunters can park their vehicles, from which they will walk to the hunting area. Temporary signs will clearly identify property boundaries. Game wardens and other departmental staff will monitor the units to ensure compliance with all regulations. Edmiston said most entrance points are designated for parking to protect the private property and reserve the maximum acreage for actual hunting activities. Continue reading
Ducks Unlimited announced last week it was awarded a federal North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to enhance more than 5,728 acres of wetland habitat in Chambers and Jefferson counties along the Texas coast. Partners contributed more than $2 million to match the $1 million received from the federal grant. The project will restore high priority wintering habitat for ducks, geese, and other migratory birds within the Chenier Plain of Texas, including at TPWD sites such as the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area. The project will replace degraded culverts and pipes with modern water control structures, improve existing levees, and construct new levees to provide efficiently managed wetland habitat.
“This partnership project will enhance management capabilities on approximately 1,100 acres of freshwater coastal marsh habitat,” said Jim Sutherlin, area manager at Murphree WMA for TPWD. “The aging water management infrastructure is in need of upgrades to enhance wetland habitat for wildlife and especially migratory waterfowl.”
The NAWCA grant project is made possible with financial support from partners BP America, Suemaur Exploration and Production, LLC, and Jefferson County Drainage District #6.
Despite welcome rains in late March, much of Texas remains parched by prolonged drought of historic proportions, and wildlife die-offs of whooping cranes and deer have been reported. However, experts say native wildlife evolved to bounce back from drought, and a bigger issue is how human water use is changing the equation, and how drought underscores the need for water planning and conservation. “The current drought affecting all of Texas has reached historic proportions, with the past six months among the driest since the long-term drought of the 1950’s and 1917, the driest year on record.” That sentence begins the March 11 situation report from the governor’s Drought Preparedness Council.
The council report said last December through February was the driest period on record for the east, south central, and upper coast regions. It also noted the entire state was classified as at least “Abnormally Dry” according to the United States Drought Monitor. Continued dry range conditions could have a negative impact on wild turkey production and hunting prospects for spring turkey season, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists. If parts of Texas remain parched, particularly the south, experts say Rio Grande turkey breeding activity and nesting effort will be greatly reduced or nonexistent. Rio Grande spring turkey hunting season runs April 4-May 17 in the North Zone, with special youth-only weekends March 28-29 and May 23-24. The South Zone season runs March 21-May 3, with youth weekends March 14-15 and May 9-10. Harvest data is collected and used for turkey management. Continue reading
Boaters gearing up for summer fun on the water in Texas are reminded about the need for boat registration and boat and outboard motor titling. Also, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has a new Web service that started in March which allows boat owners to renew online. Boat owners can now eliminate the drive and renew an existing boat registration listed in their name using a credit card online. They can also update their address and order additional ID cards when renewing online. This service is available to boats titled and registered through Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, but is not available to boats documented (titled) through the United States Coast Guard, as they must provide proof of current documentation for registration.
Boat owners can also register by providing all forms and supporting documents, any required application fees, and any boat/outboard motor taxes at TPWD headquarters in Austin or any of the 27 TPWD law enforcement (game warden) field offices throughout the state or at participating county Tax Assessor-Collector Offices. To find participating offices, check the TPWD Web site. Most boats are required by law to have current registration when on Texas public water, including vessels that are docked or moored. Texas registration is required for motorized boats of any length (including those with trolling motors), sailboats 14 feet in length or longer or sailboats with auxiliary engines, plus U.S. Coast Guard documented vessels. Continue reading
Scores of visitors turned out for a day of pleasant weather and numerous activities this past Saturday at Brazos Bend State Park, as the 5,000-acre park celebrated its 25-year history as a flagship recreation destination near the Houston metro area. Park staff—both past and present—were acknowledged, as was the Brazos Bend State Park Volunteer Organization, which contributes hundreds of service hours each year. Along with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith and State Parks Director Walt Dabney, dignitaries on hand included two state legislators. “I think Brazos Bend is a wonderful jewel that we need to preserve,” said Senator Joan Huffman of Houston, adding “it’s a wonderful getaway within a short drive for people in the city, so they can just come out here and enjoy nature.”
Representative Dora Olivo of Rosenberg said, “I think Brazos Bend State Park represents the tranquility, beauty and peace that we all need for our lives. The birds, the trees, the leaves rustling—this park is a chance to really appreciate nature, and it’s a chance to protect the beauty and sacredness of nature as well, not only for those of us now, but also for future generations.”